by MARY ANN
Let it be known I have no issue with camping holidays – my job has certainly exposed me to some wonderful spots – it’s usually others, however, who go. Good for them I say. It’s just never been on my must-do list. Nature? Great, but no need to sleep with it. Camping? A 3.5 star hotel is camping to me.
So imagine my surprise when the bloke comes home and announces, “we’re going to have a true blue Australian holiday!” What the hell does that mean, I ask? “We’re going camping darl, it’ll be great for the kids.” Well it had better be bloody good for someone.
“We haven’t got a tent,” I start to protest. “Don’t you worry about that, I’ll sort that out!” he says. 4 hours later he returns with no ordinary tent – but the Taj Bloody Mahal in the form of a 4 bedroom portable house with sunroom. “How long is this going to take to set up?” I ask. “About half a day and I’ll need to weather it too,” he says.
Weather it? Where? It’s bigger than our backyard! A phone call later, mum’s got a tent at her place for 5 days. “Where is it going to fit?” I ask. “We’re getting roof racks darl.” Of course we are. The costs involved in buying a tent and all the accessories that go with it including site fees (“We have to pay for this?” I ask. “They should be paying us!”) is up there in the thousands. “It’s an investment,” he says.
I found myself thinking: I could be in Mauritius for almost the same price sipping a pina colada by a resort pool.
I figure there’s no getting out of this. I tell friends of our plans – they mock me – “you’ll be lucky to survive the night!” they say, before hitting me with stories of possums and toilets requiring thongs. The common denominator however was an interesting one. I was bemused that so many associate camping with alcohol. And copious amounts apparently. “Why do I need that?” I ask. More laughter.
So I pack my Longchamp bag, Dinosaur Designs necklaces to wear with strapless tops, my GHD for the perfect ponytail, a Tiffany & Co cuff, Prada perfume, my Tom Ford’s. I pack the colour co-ordinated crockery. I even iron the bloke’s Ralph Lauren shorts to have him swiftly swap them for a pair of Canterbury’s.
It’s not that I’m a glamour puss. It’s not. But somehow the idea of leaving my home and life’s conveniences puts me in a spin. Where does one wash? Does one lock a tent? What we will do up there? What will the kids do without their Wii or their DS? Will I have power, I still have to work. Don’t tell me – shock horror – we might have to talk to each other?
So we hit the road with the load to the cries of ‘are we there yet’ enough to drive a sane person otherwise. Driving the freeway at the whopping speed of 80kms, the load is checked 10 times. We arrive at the holiday park with all the amenities. The bloke had done well. I eye off the toilet blocks – clean. Phew. The close proximity of the tents, however, somewhat alarming for a non-camper.
I could have been in Mauritius.
Hours later the Taj Mahal is right to go. The bloke is as proud as punch when our new neighbours declare our tent the pick of the bunch. I’m under no illusions, I know very well this isn’t ‘real’ Bear Grylls camping – but I consider it relative.